Friday, May 08, 2015

Critical Thinking in Every Content Area


G. Randy Kasten in edutopia.org espouses critical thinking as a necessary skill in the age of spin. He says:
Every educator is in a position to teach students how to gather information, evaluate it, screen out distractions and think for themselves. Because critical thinking is so important, some believe that every educator has not only the opportunities, but also the obligation to incorporate critical thinking into his or her subject area. This helps students evaluate prepackaged conclusions and clears a path for original thoughts.

According to the author, the inexperience and naivete of students makes them easy targets for misinformation, misunderstandings and misalignment. The onus is on the teachers of all content areas to continue to develop critical thinking skills for our students.

I was observing in a 6th grade lower math class the other day and the teacher was showing them graphs and asking them to talk about what the graph was supposed to be showing and whether it was misleading. Granted at 11, when our brains are not developmentally able to grasp abstract concepts, the students missed some obvious cues, but with more practice, they were able to read discrepancies.

That's math. How do we push critical thinking in the other content areas? What are resource that teachers are using?